Job Search Help for Recent Grads

Woo hoo, kudos to you! You got through school. Now it’s time to find a job. You’ve gotten this far; how hard can it be?

That depends on what advice you’ve gotten, if any, and whether it makes sense or not…for you as an individual, and for someone starting a career these days. There’s a lot of information out there. Where do you begin?

The whole task of looking for a job feels overwhelming. You don’t know what you don’t know, and sometimes you don’t even know what questions to ask. How do you begin?

Here are 4 tips to help move potential obstacles aside on the journey. You can do this! 

Job Boards are not the Yellow Brick Road.

But isn’t that where the jobs are, you ask? Sometimes, yes, but not always. Despite the megathousands of jobs posted online and the thousands of applicants applying for them, it’s not the way most people find their first or next jobs. Some external (or internal) voice may be pushing you, asking you how many applications you sent out today. Whether it’s three or three hundred, that is not the way. Though helpful to research what companies are looking for in candidates for certain jobs, 85% of people find their jobs through networking.

We often tell clients that if what you’re doing is spending all your time applying to jobs online, you’re not really conducting an effective job search. A better approach? As our friend and colleague Linda says, “Put down the mouse and get out of the house.” In other words, go offline and start talking to people and networking.

You have no experience.

Let’s think about that for a minute. Do you want to work in health care, but you’ve only had summer jobs in retail? What about those summer jobs might be meaningful to your next employer?  

Did you develop important interpersonal skills like listening well, understanding customer needs, prioritizing multiple job responsibilities? Being dependable, accountable, solving problems creatively and in a timely way? This will be important in creating a strong resume that demonstrates the value you will bring to a company or organization.

What if you haven’t had summer jobs or internships? Have you done any volunteering? That counts; it’s still work experience, just unpaid. What did you do, and how did you contribute?

What about leadership and teamwork, in the classroom or on campus? Can you identify projects and/or events where you were deeply engaged, collaborating with other students to get specific results or have impact? That counts. Write it all down.

You have no professional network.

Well then, time to begin building one. How do you do that? One conversation at a time, with one person at a time. Start making a list of friends, family, neighbors, and friends of friends, family and neighbors. You don’t need to have all the answers. There’s no way you can, so might as well let that one go and talk to people working in roles you think might be interesting. Be an explorer, an adventurer gathering valuable information from others already on the path ahead of you, information that can help you chart your own course. Be curious and ask questions about how they got started, what their job is like, whether they have any advice for you in your search, and anyone they think might be beneficial for you to talk to. 

Remember: you’re not asking for a job. You’re building professional relationships, investing in your own future. Some of these may last for years. Some may lead you to a great opportunity to start your career. You just never know.  

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Whether you’re one week, 2 months, or 3 years out of school, it doesn’t matter; resist the urge to compare your professional progress with family, friends, and classmates. Everyone has their own path, their own timing, their own experiences. You can only learn what kind of work environment feels right for you, what you do and don't want to do, by getting out there and talking to people doing it. You’ll meet interesting people, which is fun and educational. You’ll make choices that open up doors and opportunities. You’ll be on your way.

Make a Resume Gap Work for You, not Against You

Make a Resume Gap Work for You, not Against You

Whether by choice, chance, or necessity, there are times each of us may find ourselves not working. Whether it’s 6 weeks, months, years or more, when it’s time to job hunt again, many people don’t know how to manage the gap(s) on their resumes. In our work-centric culture, having a significant gap on your resume may feel like it could be a deal-breaker in the already vulnerable process of re-entry and job seeking. 

10 Ways to Keep Your Job Search Under the Radar

10 Ways to Keep Your Job Search Under the Radar

You have a job. Maybe a decent-paying job.

You like your team, but the company culture? Not so much.

Your boss is a good person. Or maybe a miserable, insecure, control freak-y person.

You felt challenged when you started. Now, you can practically phone it in.

You tell yourself, Time to start looking.

If you’re working and thinking about changing jobs, you’re certainly not alone. Even during times of job growth and increased opportunity, there’s restlessness out there in the workplace.

And why shouldn’t there be? We spend a huge portion of our lives at work. The more hours we burn, the harder we work, the more life throws inevitable curve balls at us (both in the office and beyond), the more we start to evaluate our time, compensation, professional goals, values, priorities, and whether we should consider a change.

Who Needs a Resume Writer?

Who Needs a Resume Writer?

We are so glad you asked that question. Here’s the answer, even though it’s another question: How do you want to be seen? Does it matter what you do, what you wear, what you say, or whether there’s a little piece of spinach between your teeth?

If you want to be seen and noticed for all the right reasons – i.e., your talents, skills, and abilities that will add immediate value to a team – then the content of your resume becomes important. So does its presentation, carefully crafted by someone with the ability and professional training to weave your experience into a tight, focused, strategic narrative that highlights your strengths. Think of your resume as an essential marketing tool.

What are You Worth?

What are You Worth?

Today, April 10, 2018, is a day we all should contemplate, especially as women. That’s because today is Equal Pay Day, established by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) to expand public awareness on the wage gap between men and women.

Why April 10? NCPE says It’s a symbol of how far into the year we have to work in order to earn what men earned last year. Depending on what state you live in, women get paid 70 to 80 cents for ever dollar a man gets paid.

The wage gap is even greater for women of color. And let’s remember, it impacts families, not just women. As NCPE cleverly illustrates, if there wasn’t a wage gap, we wouldn’t need this coupon.

6 Reasons Career Coaching is Better Than Going It Alone

6 Reasons Career Coaching is Better Than Going It Alone

If you’re looking to take the next step in your career but don’t know where to start, we have two words for you to consider: career coach. Much like a sports coach or fitness coach, a professional career coach can help you gain and maintain focus, direction and motivation.

How do you know if this is the right next step for you? Here are a few ways career coaching can make all the difference.   

Let's Get to Work: Practical Tips for 50+ Job Seekers

Let's Get to Work: Practical Tips for 50+ Job Seekers


I love coaching people in their careers and job searches. Recently I spoke to a group of unemployed job seekers, mostly 50+, as I have done many times. The focus of the presentation involved outlining the actions needed to conduct a successful job search in 2015. I made no mention of age.

3 Positive Ways to Turn Your Job Search Inside Out

3 Positive Ways to Turn Your Job Search Inside Out

We often hear frustrated clients lament, “I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs, and not gotten one interview!” If you’re a job seeker nodding your head as you read this, it’s time for another tactic. Relying solely on job boards is like sending paper airplanes into the ethers where they quickly disappear.